Sunday, November 16, 2014

Turin Shroud negative image- several anomalous features are now explicable by positing a medieval modelling of an imaginary whole-body sweat imprint

Those clever and inventive medievals didn't just construct cathedrals that stand to this day .
Latest thoughts on my 'sweat imprint'  anti-authenticity model (see preceding postings)

Can be used to explain a number of anomalies:

1. Lank hair.  No attempt to image real “hair”, merely the  imprint that might be left by sweat migrating out of hair of a recumbent subject (capillary action etc).

2. Blood: it was never intended to look like real thick blood - just an anaemic wishy-washy version thereof, as if sweat had migrated by capillary action through dried blood clots (i.e.the linen acting like 'blotting-paper').

3. No sides to body: gravity would make sweat descend, or ascend via capillary action, so no imprinting of side image onto linen, especially if there were limited physical contact with sides.

4. Cut-off at sides of face. As 3: the sides of the face are vertical, not horizontal.

5. No imaging of top of head:: as 3 and 4: vertical, not horizontal.

6. No imaging of wounds and scourge marks  (only blood flows therefrom) – as mentioned in earlier post. Sweat would not issue from a wound, so there can be no “sweat imprint” of a wound, only a blood imprint.

It was probably this legendary incident  on the road to Calvary that led to the idea of fabricating a double full-length version of the celebrated 'Veil of Veronica', albeit of Christ shortly after crucifixion, imprinted onto his linen burial shroud.

More anomalies??  Feel free to suggest ones I've omitted.

Will  flesh-out later on some of the listed items,  the blood aspect especially, contrasting with pro-authenticity modelling' ("serum exudate of retracted blood clots" etc).

Notre Dame Cathedral Paris: completed 1345 (12 years before the first recorded appearance of another complex artefact (smaller, 2D, but with cryptic 3D properties) in a humble village called Lirey, see below, south of Troyes, also in France)

Modern day Lirey (Google Street view).  The 19th century church on the right stands on the same plot as the humbler 14th century one founded by the de Charny/de Vergy family, first known home of the Turin Shroud in Europe, displayed to public in 1357, commemorated by the Lirey Pilgrim's badge, now in Cluny Museum. The building on left is the 'pigeonnier'  (English: pigeon loft) referred to on another website as also being located on the original  De Charny landholding. Further reading

Lirey church, with the pigeonnier visible on the left

The road sign points to Machy, just 5 minutes by car, where the 'Machy mould' for a second Lirey Pilgrim's badge was discovered by a jogger in a field

 The Machy mould, with what I consider to be the addition of an extra feature, not on the Lirey badge, of a representation of the Veil of Veronica above the word SVAIRE i.e. SUAIRE, which can mean either shroud OR face cloth (lettering reversed, being a mould).

Details in close-up.

Monday 17th November 

So might there be one of more features  of the TS image that serve as a  'smoking gun' for the kind of methodology employed to produce a negative imprint of an entire man on linen, not necessarily from (imagined) "sweat", but probably as sweat?

It's somewhat conjectural at this stage, but my answer to that question would be "maybe", and it's based on a feature on the checklist in the posting immediately preceding this one.

Here's an image from a posting I did a year ago that highlights the problem faced by our medieval imprinter.

                              Imprint off brass crucifix obtained by LOTTO method (Linen On Top, Then Overlay)

Take a closer look:

There's been no imaging of the neck, leaving a 'floating' head on the image. It may be realistic, as a "simulated sweat imprint", but is somewhat unattractive, making the end-result look too much like the scorch imprint it is, not sufficiently like an imagined sweat imprint, maybe a little idealized and romanticized.

So what are the options for including the neck of the imprinting template, that do not introduce other unwanted features at the same time?  Answer: few if any, one suspects. There was a price to be paid for imaging the neck: any run of linen that imaged the neck carried with it a penalty - the underside of the chin had to be imaged too, which looks unnatural on a 3D -> 2D transfer, and there was a risk in turning the linen through a sharp 90 degree angle at the tip of the chin.  

But that price was deemed worth paying in order to maintain continuity of image between neck, chin and chest.

Oh well, nothing in this world is perfect...

This blogger has long expressed an interest in the anomalies of the chin/neck region, focusing initially on that transverse 'crease' which is clearly part of the body image, i.e. acquired at the same time as the body image.

Here's a listing (under construction) of previous postings on this 'smoking gun' topic.

Postscript 08:10

This comment has just appeared from Charles Freeman on the shroudstory site in response to Thomas:

in response to Thomas:

Thomas. Perhaps you should start by reading the three specialists that I have quoted, Walker Bynum, Marrow and Hamburger, before you put forward your own theories.They deal with the issues in detail after many years working with the evidence. Marrow, in particular, shows how the changes relate to the new emphasis on Old Testament texts.Then if you disagree with these authorities you can,of course, explain why.
It is always good to start with the authorities, in particular as this field has been extensively worked on. I remain amazed that Colin seems to be going his own way without having started by consulting the many specialists working on medieval painting. He may end up rejecting their work but he should at least know about it before he goes public. Art historians today have to know a great deal of chemistry as much depend on the analysis of pigments, so he will be able to find people he can talk to. He needs to search out other faded cloths for comparison with the Shroud – I know of two, mentioned in my article, and there must be many more not on display anywhere so perhaps a conservation lab dealing with medieval textiles might be the place to start. Certainly I am hoping that my article helps find some to compare with the Shroud – sadly most have decayed.
But perhaps the lure of going it alone is too strong for Colin.. I doubt, however, even if he finds a new way of making images of which the Shroud is the only example, it is going to revolutionise science in the way he suggests.
Apart from the fact that the TS  BODY IMAGE does not fall within the realm of art history (blood additions might, if as I suspect they arrived AFTER body image,  in which case they are best treated as a separate issue, and were influenced by artistic considerations) has Charles never asked himself this question: Why was the TS removed so quickly from public display after the first such occasion in recorded history, with the local clergy declaring it to be a CUNNING painting and a forgery.  Given it would still have been a recently executed "painting" in 1357, before any fading and deterioration, why would it be described as a "cunning" anything, painting or otherwise, and why branded as a forgery, i.e. fake?  The answer of course is that the TS BODY IMAGE is and never was a "painting" in the conventional or any other sense, because it's an IMPRINT, not a painting, and thus outside the remit of art history. The template that we have never seen may have been a legitimate subject for (3D) art history, but at present we don't even know whether  it was bas relief,  fully 3D, or a cobbled together combination of the two, e.g. bronze statue for the body, bas relief for the head.

Oh, and I'm not trying to revolutionize science. Quite the opposite in fact. I'm applying conventional science to the TS body image, thinking of ways a negative highly superficial image with 3D properties could have been made with those characteristics arriving willy nilly as an accidental byproduct of medieval technology. After some 3 years research and study, I think I have the answer. The aim was to simulate an imaginary sweat imprint as might be left by a  traumatized recumbent man on linen. If the technology chosen to produce the pseudo-sweat imprint had been contact scorching from a heated 3D or semi-3D template, maybe with prior impregnation of linen to make it more receptive to thermal imaging, then the negative 3D properties are explained, given they can be produced at will in model systems, as this blogger has demonstrated in the course of some 250 postings since December 2011. How much of my work has Charles read? Or can he not be bothered with other people's scholarly research unless published in a reputable journal  (or in Charles's case, a book or periodical)? As I've said before, science is the world of ideas.  New scientific ideas, paradigm shifts especially)  like my invitation to view the faint-from-the-word-go TS body image as a  pseudo-sweat imprint of medieval manufacture,  are like genies that escape easily from their bottles. I leave it to those with labs and modern facilities to get released  genies back into new  bottles. long enough at any rate for their merits and/or demerits to be judged. I'm only here for the science, and leave art history to art historians, assuming they are able to differentiate between art and technology.


Here's a crucial paragraph from Charles's History Today article.

 No one has found any significant evidence of the Shroud’s existence before 1355, when it appeared in a chapel at Lirey, in the diocese of Troyes, supposedly advertised there as the burial shroud of Christ. Such sudden appearances of cults were common in a Europe recovering from the trauma of the Black Death. They caused a great deal of frustration for a Church hierarchy anxious to preserve its own status. The bishop of Troyes, Henry of Poitiers, whose responsibility it was to monitor such claims in his diocese, investigated the shrine and reported that, not only were the images painted on the cloth, but that he had actually tracked down the painter. After this clerical onslaught, the Shroud was hidden away for more than 30 years. Yet the Church accepted that it was not a deliberate forgery and in January 1390 the (anti-)pope Clement VII allowed its renewed exposure in Lirey. This suggests that the Shroud may have been credited with unrecorded miracles, thereby acquiring the spiritual status to make it worthy of veneration. Doubtless aware of the earlier claims by the Lirey clergy, Clement insisted that it was publicly announced before each exposition that this was NOT the burial shroud of Christ.

The crucial omission note is the description of the TS image as having been "cunningly" painted, long before any obvious fading could have occurred.  That omission, and the fact that a newly executed painting, no matter how "cunning" is unlikely to have been mistaken by the first cohorts of pilgrims for a genuine burial shroud makes it exceedingly unlikely that the early TS was seen as a conventional painting, even on historical and dare one say commonsensical grounds. Then there's the matter of the science. Charles seems determined to be seen as the Rip Van Winkle of Shroudology, someone who nodded off in 1978 just as the STURP team were packing their bags and equipment for the trip to Turin, and has only just recently woken up.   ;-)

 11:00:   Have just this minute come across this during googling. It's an extract from a book called "The Templars and the Grail: Knights of the Quest" by Karen Ralls.

Don't be put off by the title. It's the reference to Veronica-relic fever at roughly the same time as the first display of the Shroud at Lirey that is especially interesting.


 Might it have been the that display of the Veronica in 1350, described as the "Holy Year" just 7 years before the Lirey display that put the idea in somebody's head of trumping the Veronica with a bigger and better "sweat" imprint? How might that someone have set about simulating a sweat imprint, one wonders? Thinks: it has to be pale yellow or tan, it has to be highly superficial, and NOT look like paint, it has to be a negative image, it should have some "blood" in all the biblically-correct  places as well as "sweat", it should be unmistakeable as a burial shroud, even if one has to take artistic liberties ...

12:10  It's now 8 months since I lasted posted to my specialist Shroud site* (not counting the short-lived 'strawshredder' offshoot) . Methinks it's time to update it with the firmed-up ideas re the TS as a carefully-crafted but  simulated sweat  imprint.  That "holy year" 1350  - see above- would make as good a starting point as any, focusing initially on the then extant Veil of Veronica, and whether that much smaller piece of fabric  was really a sweat imprint or not, and whether it  was  a genuine relic from AD33 or not. That would  then set the scene for introducing the new paradigm, namely that the TS image was inspired by and derivative of the Veronica. The site could then be abandoned for a few more months, awaiting further ideas and developments, and continuing with this site as a day-to-day worksheet. However, as stated a couple of days ago, I shall no longer be reporting my experiments in real time. It seemed a good idea at the start but has proved to have too many downsides. Any results I get from experimenting with model systems will in future be used to shape or re-shape the central hypothesis, the focus now being on seeking evidence from the TS image that it was purposely designed to be seen as a  (pseudo)sweat imprint, and less on the precise mechanism by which that goal was achieved (given that the scorch hypothesis already ticks numerous boxes, and given the poorly-documented  basis for many of the labels on those boxes anyway as regards image location, image superficiality, microscopic aspects etc etc).

*59 visits today so far, though visits sadly do not translate into Google ranking, or if they do, they are a poor relation in the ranking algorithm.

22:15 Monday. Job done. have just posted to my old specialist TS site, the first since March. The Google ranking jumped instantly from page 25 to page 16, which tells you something about the way the ranking algorithm works.

Update November 21st. That Google ranking can be Page 13 or even Page 9 briefly under a (shroud of turin) search yet Page 26 a few hours later.  That really says all one needs to know about the stability and quality control of the Google algorithm. I for one shall not waste another second with 'meegling my own content, since apart from being narcissistic, it's a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME AND ENERGY.

What has been far more valuable has been googling (shroud sweat imprint). Most of the first listed entries refer to my current thinking, arrived at circuitously some might think through initially following the scorch  -> barbecued Templar route, and finally arriving at a 'scorch as simulated sweat imprint' conclusion,  a considered view that is now setting rock hard in this sceptic's mind like concrete.

However, a chance finding in that list was a Google books link to Ian Wilson's "The Shroud" (2010) which has a few 'free sample' pages that would seem prescient, despite his final conclusions and take-away message being entirely the opposite of mine, namely that the TS image IS genuine. Why prescient? Sweat and sweat imprints still feature strongly in his view, though I have still to press the appropriate  keys to acquire and read his entire book (which won't be a chore, if only for  his enviable style of writing).

Having given his book a puff, I hope he and his publishers won't object to my posting here a screen grab of some of those free pages on view already.

 Page 30 from Ian Wilson's "The Shroud" (2010)

 Page 31 from same

I see this posting has been described as the "Conspiracy of the Faux Sweat Imprint".

That "conspiracy" term always carries connotations, faintly pejorative ones. What I'm proposing is not so much a conspiracy, more a confidence trick. Naturally the organizers need  to keep things to themselves, but that's not quite the same as "conspiracy".

Saturday 22nd November

There's a new post gone up on in which French-Canadian Yannick Clément ask when and why the TS image first became seen as one captured at the instant of Resurrection, as distinct from a natural phenomenon associated with enveloping a corpse in linen.

My answer - for what it's worth: it happened when certain "scientists" (I use the term loosely, since it's generally engineers dabbling in science) decided to dismiss  natural causes or medieval forgery with indecent haste, and began to speculate on intense bursts of radiation, conveniently collimated so as not to require all the paraphernalia of lenses etc. But normal corpses don't emit radiation, do they? So it had to be supernatural radiation, and what better time to emit that supernatural radiation than during a process of dematerialization that we call Resurrection.

It's a completely circular argument, needless to say. It needed  that  supernatural  'resurrection' to generate the necessary and entirely hypothetical  radiation (wavelength conveniently unspecified) and with it the image.  But the image could "only" have been formed by radiation which therefore offers overwhelming evidence (or so we are told) of a supernatural event, i.e. Resurrection.

So, to summarize,  the Resurrection provided the radiation, and the radiation formed the image, and the image could only have been formed by radiation, so there had to be a Resurrection to provide the radiation, which formed the image, which must have needed radiation, which must have come from Resurrection, which generated the radiation...  oops, there's someone knocking at the door, must see who it is, back later...

Friday, November 14, 2014

I've been misunderstood. I did not claim that the Turin Shroud image was an actual sweat imprint - only that is was made to SEEM like a sweat imprint.

I called them contact scorches in a previous posting, showing their 3D properties in ImageJ.  One could have called them SIMULATED sweat imprints. That does not mean they were real sweat imprints. (The two images, showing effect of  light v stronger applied pressure,  were produced by serially pressing a heated bronze crucifix face-side up into linen with a damp cloth underlay, the latter helping to model a fairly superficial Turin Shroud-like image)

As the comments on other Shroud sites, to say nothing of editorial content, become increasingly bizarre, it's time to set out my own stall more carefully to avoid misunderstanding.

In my last posting I made what I consider to be a major new claim  regarding the faint body image on Turin Shroud - one for which I not unnaturally expect credit if it finds general support - and brickbats if not.

Nope, I don't seek commercial gain, nor media celebrity but do expect academic kudos if as I hope my ideas prove to be the correct ones- and I have reason to believe that the "simulated sweat imprint" idea is not only original, except for one passing mention discovered yesterday in googling.  Let's not beat about the bush. It's a  PARADIGM SHIFT , one that will require a major rehink about the TS and how it was able to capture the imagination through engendering assumptions that never got properly questioned, even to this day.
 From quick googling:

paradigm shift

           A fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.

 It goes to the heart, not just of science and the scientific method vis-a-vis other methods of enquiry. It has a huge amount to say about the theory of knowledge in general - and the way in which our view of the natural and material world can be coloured by our preconceptions, faulty as often as not).

No, the TS is not a painted image, which we thought had been virtually ruled out by the 1978 STURP investigation, a view now resurrected  by Charles Freeman's in his curiously blinkered article in "History Today". It was intended to be seen as a sweat imprint left on top and bottom surfaces ("frontal" and "dorsal") of a generously -proportioned  up-and-over-burial shroud (for which there is no biblical evidence btw).

But just because it was intended to be seen that way does NOT mean that the medieval artisan set out to create an image with sweat, or even simulated sweat, or indeed any liquid concoction whatsoever. So when people ask "Where does that leave the heated template/scorch hypothesis?" which for 2.5 years now has been my preferred mechanism for imprinting a superficial tan-coloured image on linen with negative (light/dark reversed character) and 3D properties, the answer is simple: it's still alive and well, and still being modified  as we speak to try and accommodate this or that detail of the actual TS image.

Why is the scorch hypothesis still in the frame? Answer: because it seems as good a way as any for SIMULATING a sweat imprint, given a contact scorch from a hot template can be as faint and superficial as one wishes - it being a fairly simple and straightforward matter to control image intensity. What's more, while the medieval artisan would not have known it, the resulting image would centuries later respond to modern technology, starting with photography and light/dark reversed  images ("negatives") on silver-coated emulsions, giving the "haunting" photograph-like positive image revealed by Secondo Pia (1898), and later still the remarkable response to 3D-rendering software etc.

But there's another aspect worth noting: if the TS was designed as a simulated sweat imprint, that helps channel one's thinking as to how a medieval artisan, with the materials at his disposal, might have set about the task. Scorching off a hot template is just one approach, but there are bound to be others. The field is wide open to others to come up with alternative suggestions and test them.In passing, it has never been my aim, as a scientist, to respond the challenge one sees almost daily on shroudie sites to "reproduce every detail of the TS image". The challenge I respond to is the one that science has never been able to reproduce the peculiar set of properties of the Shroud - extreme superficiality, 3D properties, lack of fluorescence under uv etc etc. If one could do that - reproduce all the peculiarities that are said to baffle science- then I would stop there, not being in the business of creating forgeries that are indistinguishable form the original. I'm only here for the science.
Louis Figueiredo

In the next few hours, maybe days, I shall be extending this post to take in some other housekeeping details of the scorch hypothesis. One major priority will be to address some objections from Professor Giulio Fanti which I only encountered yesterday, articulated in an interview he gave to Louis C. De Figueiredo.

Question: It has been proposed that the Shroud image was formed by scorching with a hot statue and one of the reasons you contested Luigi Garlaschelli was to say that only the primary cell wall of the linen fibre, about 0.2 micrometres thick, is coloured, also that the medulla of each fibre image is not coloured. Does that go to say that your study challenges the hot statue hypothesis as well?

Fanti's reply:  The hot statue hypothesis is absurd, it becomes evident in the paper entitled
Hypotheses regarding the Formation of the Body Image on the Turin Shroud: A Critical Compendium , published by JIST.

The 0.2 micrometers thick layer of colour on the image fibres of the TS is only one of the many reasons why this hypothesis must be rejected. In fact, if you put a linen thread in contact with a hot body this should not last more than thousands (thousandths?) of seconds to reach such a colour thickness. An experimental test using a hot statue would colour at least the whole fibre.

I realize that there are limited opportunities in an interview to state a full case. By the same token, interview soundbites risk presenting an oversimplified view of things that others then take away and uncritically quote, allowing false perceptions to take root. The response of linen fibres to conventional energy sources, notably conducted heat, is almost certainly a lot more subtle and complex than most people think, possibly even Professor Fanti himself, due to a range of factors - physical, chemical, botanical and technological. These are just as deserving of our close attention as the newer gee whizz models, such as the laser-generated coherent uv radiation model (from ENEA's Paolo Di Lazzaro et al) or Fanti's own electrical corona discharge one. What's needed as a matter of urgency right now is more science and less technology (or, while we're about it, the blinkered history that displays a astonishing degree of scientific illiteracy, or indifference, or even contempt - a sad example if ever there was of Britain's still divisive and totally inexcusable "Two Cultures").

11:50 Saturday: Right. Let's make a start on that Fanti reply above.

"The hot statue hypothesis is absurd, it becomes evident in the paper entitled
Hypotheses regarding the Formation of the Body Image on the Turin Shroud: A Critical Compendium , published by JIST."

Click to ENLARGE

But I have not read that paper, and will not be doing so, despite it appearing in what ostensibly is a reputable and peer-reviewed journal. Why not? Because if the paper had come to me, not as an imaging specialist, but simply as a "scientist" I would have rejected it out of hand. Why? Because the proposition that the TS image was formed by any kind of radiation or corona discharge phenomenon clearly shows a pro-authenticity bias, highly visible I might say in Fanti's other Shroud papers, some of which I've heavily criticized in the past for their lack of strict scientific objectivity. It's not just that I think it wrong that a scientist should be so dismissive of the radiocarbon dating, which we know had at least statistical shortcomings. Personally, I do not buy into the argument that failure to sample from more than one site invalidates the entire conclusions. When you are required to have a blood test, you have blood taken from one site. The nurse does not sample from multiple sites, on the offchance that blood has different compositions in different locations. Unless one has strong a priori grounds for suspecting site-to-site variability, than one-site sampling  will suffice, at least initially while methodologies are compared, as was the case with three labs using different variants of the AMS technology.. The claims that the corner sample was unrepresentative does not constitute a strong a priori claim for heterogeneity in my view (whether due to reweaving, repair patch etc). In fact there's contrary evidence that those claims are untrue - notably the continuity of the peculiar banding across the sample region.

So no, I will not be shelling out $25 on the off-chance that paper has anything new or useful useful to say as regards the factual evidence on image characteristics. If Giulio Fanti wants mainstream scientists like me who regard the TS as non-authentic unless or until proved otherwise, he must hive off the objective data and publish it independently, preferably as some kind of web-based communication that researchers like myself can access without charge, and indeed without to communicate with the author directly.  Why not?  Here's why not:

So in the meantime I must work on the basis that there are no data in that paper that greatly alter the status quo re TS authenticity. If there were (published 2011) I think we would know about it.

Oh, and while I hesitate to say it it, were I ever to be interviewed about my position on the TS, I would not start with a reference to my published work, especially when behind a paywall, and expect the interviewer and his readers to mind-read the contents, or stump up the wherewithal. That rather defeats the purpose of agreeing to be interviewed does it not?

Brief aside: I' ve been accused elsewhere by one of the Usual Suspects of doing a 'flip-flop', abandoning the scorch hypothesis for chemical imprinting, with the snide suggestion that it's all to do with "politics" and not "science".

For the record, I have not abandoned the scorch hypothesis or even distanced myself from it, as this posting shows. I still consider tit he most probable means by which a medieval artisan imprinted an image on linen that he hoped and indeed assumed would be readily accepted as being a Veronica-like sweat imprint. I'm merely saying that the "sweat imprint" paradigm means that other options for creating a look-alike sweat imprint should not be neglected.

Why did I embrace the scorch hypothesis initially, and why the current focus these last 6 months or so on "sweat". In both cases the science was supported by evidence sought in the historical context (while acknowledging I'm not historian).  Initially, there seemed a rationale for a  scorched-on image that related to the slow-roasting of Templar leaders (Jacques de Molay etc) in 1314. Others too (Lomas and Knight) had made a link between de Molay and the TS, albeit on a different and 'unintended ' imprinting mechanism, so it's not as if I were breaking new ground. It was only relatively recently that the notion of sweat began to form in my mind. That was based on three disparate lines of evidence - scientific and historical. First the Lomas and Knight mechanism involved a complicated process involving the lactic acid of body perspiration generating singlet oxygen that then supposedly coloured the linen. The sweat seed was sown. Then came the recent discovery of the Machy Mould, with its Veronica-like image of the still  living(?) Jesus above the word SUAIRE, which some see as meaning burial shroud, but which in my view could equally well have meant simply "face-cloth" inviting the Lirey pilgrim to make a link between an established and much venerated Veil of Veronica and the new arrival. Then came a stumbling upon the letter that St.Francis de Sales wrote to his mother with its numerous references to both blood AND sweat on the TS. Everything was now pointing to the TS having been seen initially as a SWEAT IMPRINT. There is no "politics" guiding that view. It is simply an enquiring mind, seeking  evidence wherever it can be found as to the reasons why the TS should make so sudden an appearance and impact in European recorded history, given its  immediate  'celebrity status' despite having no accompanying documentation or even word-of-mouth testimony as to its history prior to the circa 1357 public display.

Anyway, enough of that. Time now to return to the second and final part of Giulio Fanti's broadside against "scorch technology", which is still very much the first string in this blogger's bow (he would hardly be devoting all this attention to Fanti's views were that not the case).

!3:45 Saturday

"The 0.2 micrometers thick layer of colour on the image fibres of the TS is only one of the many reasons why this hypothesis must be rejected. In fact, if you put a linen thread in contact with a hot body this should not last more than thousands (thousandths?) of seconds to reach such a colour thickness. An experimental test using a hot statue would colour at least the whole fibre."

 Am I the only one to think it amazing that Ray Rogers' estimate of image thickness, based on no more than failure to see it in cross-section when stripped off sticky tape sample with forceps, is still quoted and requoted decades latter as if it were a quantitative measurement. It's not. It's a pure guesstimate, based on the inability to "see" it, due to the limited resolving power of a light microscope. Yes, that's right. You can't see it, so it's thickness os not greater than that of the shortest wavelengths of visible light. Some avoid the spuriosu impression of precision by re-stating the image thickness as 200-600nm. personally, I have no diificulty with that as a tiny "thickness", or "thinness", given it's essentially no different from the thickness of gold leaf that medieval artists applied to their reflective illuminated pictures. Yes,though a mere and much trumpeted  fraction of the width of the human hair, it used to be applied and maneuvered into place  on the tipof a paint brush, and 0.2 micrometers is the approximate thickness of the primary cell wall of flax/linen fibres. But it would be nice to have an independent precise measure of the TS image thickness, instead of bandying around that figure as if it were (a) hard science (it's not) and (b) impossibly thin for any image formed with conventional energy sources (Who says? Has anyone checked that out? I doubt it where shroudology is concerned, conventional energy sources being oh so boring and not the stuff of electrifying conference addresses).

There are further allusions to experimental data in the remainder with no indication that I'm aware of that such data actually exist. Note the careful wording of the final sentence: "An experimental test using a hot statue would colour at least the whole fibre.". Has the good Professor ever imprinted off a hot statue and examined the scorched fibres? If so where was that work published? If he has done those experiments, which I very much doubt, then I hope they were carried out with greater finesse than that one-off scorching experiment which his countryman and fellow-authenticist Paolo Di Lazzaro reported to in an attempt to swat this free spirit back in 2012,

OK, enough of the theorizing that postures as science (it's not - hypothesis is of course he driving force of new experimental science. But without the experimentation and testing, it's still speculation, often based on a little knowledge that all too often is shown to be inadequate for the task).

This blogger has scorched linen not just scores of times but hundreds, and is not the least put off by claims of incredible superficiality, unachievable with conventional science (even if he is unable like the rest of the world to measure the precise thickness of that image on individual fibres).

Here's a result I obtained and published early on, using bas relief horse brasses to serially imprint across fabric as the template progressively cooled (more about heat transfer rates later):

One of the horse brasses, top left. Images left to right are serial imprintings from a cooling template.

Close up - approaching limit of visibility.

Scarcely any reverse side scorching (compare with images 3 and 4 on top side)

20:50  Am carefully researching an answer to the final two sentences - careful because there's an apparent contradiction between Professor Fanti's words above, and those that he and his colleagues wrote in their "Macroscopic/Microscopic Paper" in 2010, which up until now has been my bible where the fine structure of TS image characteristics are concerned.

While pausing for a coffee, I had a sudden thought, a bit off the specific topic here, but vitally important in the wider context. Outside of 1st century miracles, but within the context of first century provenance, one has what might be described as a range of 'naturalistic' image-imprinting mechanisms. They all have one thing in common, being "accidental" and unintended. Contrast that with the 14th century simulated sweat image scenario, which is non-accidental and fully intended. Which is likely to produce  the better image, indeed one that is near-perfect in its overall homogeneity of image intensity from head to foot? Answer - the intended result, the 14th century simulated sweat imprint. One might say there are human fingerprints all over the TS image - metaphorical ones that is. Olé..

Back again, Sunday 16th Nov, with one final addition to conclude this posting.

Yes, as I was saying yesterday there's a puzzling contradiction between the final words of that Fanti soundbite and scorching, and what he and associates wrote in 2010 in a (splendid) review that IS downloadable as a pdf (thanks it seems to co-author Paolo Di Lazzaro).

Cancel the Download pop-up that first appears on top of the paper using the x that top left. One can then access the full contents of the paper without needing to sign up if one does not wish to.

Here's what the above paper had to say about the distribution of colour along and around individual linen fibres:

 If a fiber is colored, it is uniformly colored around its cylindrical surface; relatively long fibers show variation in color from non-image to image area [B15]
and later:

 The yellowed fibrils (fibers) are not yellowed continuously over their entire length; the coloration does not appear under the crossing threads of the weave or penetrate the cloth.

and later still:

According to the Evans photomicrographs, the color of the image areas has a discontinuous distribution along the yarn (threads) of the cloth: striations are evident.

What these quotes from the 2010 paper say, drawn from earlier work, can be stated more simply:
where there is image colour on a fibre, it extends round the entire circumference, but NOT the entire length.

In fact, I based an entire posting (other site) on that interpretation back in early 2012 which subsequently became my most visited posting. No one has raised  ever any objection to though I do recall one commentator thanking me for pointing out a detail that he had missed, namely complete circumferential scorching (which incidentally I tried to explain, correctly or otherwise,  in terms of an exothermic pyrolysis of PCW hemicellulose, drawing an analogy with fuse wire). 

Ah, the penny has dropped with me, He's referring to the core of the fibre, extending right through to the centre, to the so-called "medulla", almost certainly a misnomer, the centre of the fibre having a tubular cavity that is bounded by what is almost certainly remnants of the original cell protoplasm (the living "stuff").

As you can see, I'm writing this in real time, and having to backtrack if I've been overhasty in my interpretation of what Fanti is saying. In my defence, his comments specifically re scorching were cursory to say the least. Never mind: let's move on. It's the alleged colouring of the core of the fibre OR the interface that core makes with the central lumen (a better description of the "medulla" that is the issue). How well is that supposed fact documented in the literature? I know that Rogers mentioned the "medulla" as an issue, but let's go back to the 2010 paper above and see if its documented there. Has Fanti done his own scorching experiments or  is he yet again, as earlier with that "200nm" thickness, merely passing the baton from Rogers to a wider readership using Louis CdF as an intermediary? We shall see. Back later.

11:20  In the meantime here's some light relief, a comment from New York lawyer John Klotz on

in response to Dan:
Colin Berry tells us, I’ve been misunderstood. I did not claim that the Turin Shroud image was an actual sweat imprint – only that is was made to SEEM like a sweat imprint. Got it? I thought I had. And I thought most of us had. But: As the comments on other Shroud sites, to […]
While I appreciate your comments on Occam’s razor posted earlier (see e.g. quantum theory) along comes Colin to make the opposite point. His complex theories and speculations all dance around a point he is beginning to prove but can not accept: the Shroud is authentic. Authenticity really is the simplest solution.

Maybe I'm reading too much into that, but is there not a hint that he sees some merit in my current thinking that the TS is to be viewed as a  sweat imprint (ignoring the sting in the tail that it was modelled in the 14th century to represent an imprint, and not of real 1st century provenance).  So maybe the proponents of authenticity will talk less in future of Rogers' Maillard model and more about "sweat imprinting", maybe with some outside help on hand in a 1st century rock tomb to achieve an outcome better than could be expected with just any old corpse. As I said earlier, the TS image is simply too good, with scarcely any missing or indistinct bits to have been  formed by any naturalistic process involving body fluids or vapours. Its perfection points strongly to it having been fabricated with such minute attention to detail as to leave no one in any doubt as to how it should be interpreted (while leaving them totally ignorant as to the clever methodology deployed behind a wall of secrecy).


Back to that 2010 paper. There's only one mention of "medulla" in the entire paper, which I have reproduced (highlighted in yellow) along with the section that follows it that makes the meaning more clear. Be on the lookout for the R word:

(4) The cellulose of the medullas (or lumen) of the 10-20   micrometre diameter fibers in image areas is  colorless [A6].

(5) The colored layers in the adhesive have the same chemical properties as the image color on fibers and according to Rogers, when using pressure sensitive adhesive tapes during 1978 STURP tests, the color of image fibe surfaces, leaving molds of the fibers (i.e.,“ghosts”) in the adhesive [A7].

(6) Chemical tests showed that there is no protein painting medium or protein-containing coating in  image areas [B10].

(7) If a fiber is colored, it is uniformly colored around its cylindrical surface; relatively long fibers show variation in color from non-image to image area [B15]. After detailed microscopic observations by Rogers which were confirmed by G.Fanti  (6,7) important evidence confirms that the image color does not involve the whole linen fiber (A6) but only an outermost layer (A4) which may be called the primary cell wall, or a thin impurity layer which is only about 200nm thick and less stable chemically than the interior cellulose. Only this outermost layer is colored.

The R word isof course Rogers, but note that Fanti is content to say he has "confirmed" Rogers findings (without saying what he used as a model system), to which he gives two further references of his own, though it's not clear whether these relate to peer-reviewed work (probably not by the looks of it)

6    G. Fanti and R. Basso,
The Turin Shroud, Optical Research in the Past, Present and Future
(Nova Science Publisher Inc., New York, 2007).

7  G. Fanti, La Sindone, una sfida alla Scienza Moderna (Edizione Aracne,Roma, Italy, 2008

Sorry, but I have neither the time nor inclination to get involed in a long and probably expensive paper chase, with no certainty of finding what I'm looking for, namely a fully documented basis for the claim that model scorches always penetrate to the centre of the linen fibre, such that the interface between secondary cell wall and lumen ("medulla") is always coloured.

Even if that were the case with the model system described, at the specified temperature, or range of temperatures (let's be optimistic that a range was studied), and given a backing underlay or overlay to act as heat-sink (standard in all my experiments to avoid excessive scorching) , who's to say the image was imprinted onto untreated linen?

Here;s an image from an earlier experiment of mine, comparing the ability of linen to take a scorch imprint after impregnation with lemon juice compared with plain water (the latter as a control). The hot template (an aluminium pencil sharpener) was moved across the juncture of the test and control fabrics as it cooled - a rough-and-ready way of testing temperature as well in the same experiment.

Control (left) versus treated with lemon juice (right)

If, as seems likely on theoretical grounds, the much darker image with lemon juice is mainly or exclusively a Maillard product, formed on the surface by reaction between heat-degradation products of ascorbic acid and proteins (or other of free amino groups) then there is imaging with NO degradation of linen fibres per se, especially as Maillard reactions are endothermic, acting as an ablative heat shield to the underlying linen. The latter explanation is supported by my earlier experiments with dried onion scale leaf epidermis, scarcely more than two primary cell walls, which takes a strong scorch - probably a Maillard product involving remnants of dried cell sap sandwiched between gossamer-thin cell walls - with near-complete protection of the underlying linen.

Back again (15:35): So, I've been back to the primary source of the "scorched medulla" story to remind myself of precisely what Rogers wrote.

Notice anything from the text that accompanies the above graphic. It was NOT a model contact scorch that produced the coloured medullas. Rogers was describing the fibres on the TS that were scorched in the 1532 fire. They were NOT simple conduction scorches that one obtains by briefly pressing hot solid metal against linen. Quite what caused them is anyone's guess. One hypothesis (and that's all it is) is that part of the silver reliquary used toi store the folded TS melted, and liquid silver dripped onto the fabric. But I (and others) questioned that version of events a long time ago, given that it's highly improbable that temperatures in a burning chapel would ever reach high enough levels to melt silver (approx 900 degrees C - I'll be back later with an accurate value). There are three ways of transferring heat: conduction, convection, radiation. A contact scorch is the first of those. The 1532 fire could have exposed the TS to scorching by 2 or even all 3 of those mechanisms.

Sorry folks,  but there's simply no hard evidence that there's a difference between the TS image characteristics at the microscopic level and those that are producible by means of model scorch systems, notably contact scorches. That's not to say there is no difference, only that the evidence being trotted out is at best anecdotal.

Time methinks to conclude this posting, and go and look in more detail at the implications of what I earlier described shamelessly as a paradigm shift. That's the good thing about paradigm shifts, indeed the acid test: they make one think thoughts one might otherwise not had. provided those new thoughts are testable, one is firmly within the realms of science, It's when folk trot out "received wisdom" as if it were established fact, that has never been properly tested, that one finds oneself steered away from highway of science into the barren desert of pseudo-science.

Nuff said, for now at any rate, except for one thing:  science is best left to scientists.

Can anyone play, at science that is? Play maybe, but that's generally as far as it goes. Scientific research requires a curious mix of disciplined and undisciplined thinking. It can take years, decades even, to find the right balance. I'm still learning.

That's it.  Comments welcome.

See Shortcut to Comments ( current posting)  installed at top of  the sidebar (non-standard issue!).

Monday, November 10, 2014

Checklist of reasons for thinking the Turin Shroud image represents a dried-on sweat imprint. Real 1st century or simulated 14th century?

This blogger's still steering clear of the non-interactive pdf .

IMPORTANT UPDATE (14 November): from viewing responses to this posting elsewhere, this being an example, it's clear that there's been some misunderstanding, due perhaps to an over-concise title.

Here it is again, with a few extra words (bolded).
Checklist of reasons for thinking the Turin Shroud image represents a dried-on sweat imprint. Real 1st century sweat imprint or simulated 14th century sweat imprint?

Oh, and one other thing before returning to the original post:  even if, as I suspect, the TS image was fabricated in the 14th century to look as if it were a sweat  imprint left by the crucified Jesus on a linen shroud, not forgetting blood as well, I doubt whether sweat or any other bodily fluid would have been used to achieve that aim. The practical difficulties would have ruled out that option. Some other technology would have needed to be devised that simulated, dare one say "faked"  the appearance of a sweat imprint. But please note my earlier suggestion that the TS image was not necessarily created in the first instance as a fake. If the technology used was contact scorching, say, it could have been used  on a Mark 0 Shroud to create a grim memento of the fate of one or more of those Templar Knights, slowly roasted to death in Paris 1314, with the image subsequently being 're-ininvented' as the Mark 1 TS by addition of bloodstains and scourge marks. Who knows, the Mark 0 TS may even have been a representation of St.Lawrence of Rome, who also died (allegedly) from being slow-roasted in 258AD.

Here's the original start to this posting:

Today, my wife  and I are in London, meeting in the flesh for the first time two fellow bloggers from the old days with whom we've kept in contact via web forums.  The initial interaction was on the My Telegraph site (2009) which I helped establish in its pilot phase along with half a dozen or so others. Later a spin-off site developed which helped maintain the contact in a friendlier more informal fashion.

We shall be seeing the amazing poppy spectacle at the Tower of London. Up till now I've only seen it from afar and on high (the elevated hospitality suite of the Shard across the river, now open to the general public, by reservation).

Anyway, with that as preamble, I'll be trying to add to the checklist I've started  on this worksheet of reasons for thinking that the Shroud of Turin was designed and produced to represent a notional, i.e. simulated  imprint on linen, as bodily sweat (accounting for the faintness of the body image) and of course the more visible blood.

Sorry, no polished end product just yet. It's the way this blogger operates, and has done since December 2011 with his first 'Shroudie' posting on this blog. What's  described here is a journey, not a final destination. Who knows, I might even end up in the pro-authenticity camp (but it would take another carbon-14 dating to do that, providing an answer like AD 50 +/- 150 years. The chances of that happening are pretty slim, but you never know).

Come to think of it, a sweat imprint is not incompatible with authenticity any more than, say, Rogers' similarly 'naturalistic' model that visualizes a chemical imprinting of putrefaction amines onto a starch/dextrin 'impurity coating. Compatibility and actual hard physical/chemical/biological evidence are of course two entirely different things.

Here then is  the start of the checklist. Hopefully by the end of the day there will be more points. Then comes the task of fleshing out each point to turn a checklist into a mini-thesis. The end-product would be posted here, along with a copy to my dormant TS site whose last posting in March of this year some might find a touch prolix (I certainly do on re-reading). Don't expect a pdf.  To be candid,  while others may disagree,
I do not approve of the pdf format , given it provides no means for posting comments and/or criticism. For me it's either the informality and interactivity of the blog format OR peer-reviewed papers in reputable journals, with no in-betweens (which would include books, newspaper articles and other press releases).

Knowledge is always provisional, with some knowledge more firmly rooted, less provisional than others. There should be no hint or suggestion of 'fait accompli' where the world of knowledge is concerned, certainly not where science is concerned, especially when it centres on an ancient artefact with no accompanying documentation, one rarely open to public view at close quarters, far less detailed and ongoing scientific examination. So this blogger/retired scientist will continue to keep things informal, both now and for the forseeable future.

Checklist in support of sweat imprint (complete links, references etc will be added later)

1. St. Francis de Sales letter to mother from Annecy in 1614 with references not only to blood but to sweat too - his own, his father's and that on the Shroud,(See footnote 1 for sweat-fixated complete text). He clearly perceived the TS body image as a sweat imprint. And why not? What else was he supposed to think?

2. Veronica-like image above the word SUAIRE added to so-called Machy mould for a planned variant of the circa 1355 Lirey badge (whether produced or not, and whether before/after the lead/tin-cast Lirey pilgrim's badge we do not know). (The Lirey badge was produced to commemorate the first recorded appearance of the TS in Europe by shortly to be widowed Jeanne de Vergy, her knightly husband Geoffroi de Charny having been killed at the Battle of Poitiers (1356). Nothing is known about how the couple came to acquire what is presently called the Turin Shroud, it not having moved to House of savoy ownership and later Turin till much later. See site for a more comprehensive summary of the history of the world's "most studied artefact")

Machy mould for a Lirey badge, presumed circa 1355, Machy field where found being just two km from Lirey. Arrows show location of Veronica-like image above word SVAIRE , i.e. SUAIRE  (reversed),  meaning "facecloth" with connotations of sweat.

Enlargement of that presumed Veronica image, compared with a later artistic rendering (one of several) shown in the wiki entry for 'Veil of Veronica'.

3. Offers a rationale for the negative image (as would any direct imprinting off a template).

4.An attempt to rival the Veil of Veronica which according to celebrated art historian Neil MacGregor was the ‘central icon’ of the Roman Church in the 14th century.
See wiki entry for: Veil of Veronica
and British Museum  (Neil MacGregor is its present Director).

5. Offers a route into the kind of options that would have been considered for creating a look-alike sweat imprint. Possibly chemical, or thermochemical, or even just thermal (scorching). But artists’ pigments shunned – aim being to simulate an imprint, not paint a standard portrait.

7. Offers a rationale for the twin image – an imprint from both body surfaces, without imprinting off sides (since latter don’t make contact with a spread out sheet).

8. Explains why the TS image gives dramatic effect on image inversion and 3D-rendering if it was imprinted off a 3D subject in a manner that captures 3D relief as a 2D image, allowing a degree of 2D ->3D-enhanced  ‘reversibility’ in appropriate software (ImageJ etc).

9. Explains (to sceptics) how hair could be credibly imaged through becoming sweat-saturated.

10. Explains why there is no imaging of actual wounds on the TS - blood only. The template was fairly basic - with no wounds (bronze statues etc that attempt to show wounds with or without "blood" are rarely satisfactory, given the lack of flesh and blood character).

Stopped here at 07:00 am.  Have a train to catch.

17:15 back from London, having seen the amazing carpet of ceramic poppies in the 'dry' moat of the Tower of London, one for each of the fallen (888,246 of them!)  in the Great War, 1914-18.

To think that supposedly civilized nations willingly inflicted that level of carnage on their young men, with an entire generation of the brightest and best - plus essential back-up - virtually wiped out.

On the train back, I gave some more thought to that list. Sadly I could only think of another 13 reasons for thinking the TS body image is a sweat imprint, real or simulated. Must do better  ;-)

Is shall add them here this evening, in the same order they were jotted down- in other words, no particular order.Tidying up will come later

Reasons (continued from No.10 above)

11. If not a negative imprinted image, what could it be? A freehand painting? But there's no trace of artists' pigments (STURP 1982 Report), no sign of brush marks, no 'directionality' that gives clues to the direction of illumination.

12. Why the blood trails on hair, supposedly from a crown of thorns? Blood would not form trails on hair - an artists would realize that. Some suggest the separate imaging of hair and body image caused one to be out of stereoregister with the other. There's a simpler explanation. The hair, along with rest of body image, needed additions of conspicuous blood to make it more easily discernible, the hair being virtually indistinguishable in colour  from image-free background.

13. Many have commented on the absence of a loin cloth, arguing that implies authenticity - no medieval artist (or artisan) would have risked offending public decency through showing bare buttocks.
But if a decision had been made to simulate a sweat imprint, there could be no clothing of any description (how could one depict a loin cloth except as some subtle change in the character of the sweat imprint?). In any case, a loin cloth becomes unnecessary on a shroud-enveloped cadaver - the medieval pilgrim would have known that.

14. One has an explanation for why blood stains, scourge marks etc HAD to be shown.  Any attempt to clean up the corpse before placing in a shroud would have removed sweat as well as blood, and would prevent imprinting by this particular mechanism.

15.One has an explanation for two peculiar features of the 1516 Lier copy of the TS that have been pointed out, namely (a) the very prominent buttocks and (b) the bunching of hair into three conspicuous clumps in the dorsal view.

Not only did the artists manage to convey the faintness of the image, but the reasons for it: prominent buttocks could fit with trapping of sweat, clumping of hair likewise. It's hard to think of alternative explanations.

16. The sweat imprint hypothesis vis -a-vis a painted image explains why the soles of feet are shown in the dorsal view. It's unlikely a artist would  have shown the soles, being  content to stop at the heels. But an image produced off a template (or even real human subject) allows for the turning of linen upwards through 90 degrees around the heels along the soles  before securing with the up-and-over top surface to get a 'tight' wrapping.

17. The sweat imprint hypothesis explains the peculiarity of the TS man's neck, the subject of previous postings.  Most recent link. In brief, the unexpected alternation of light and dark transverse bands is interpretable as a weak imaging of the UNDERSIDE of the chin, followed by a stronger imaging where the cloth then meets the neck 'square on'.In other words, fabric followed all the contours, instead of bridging from chin to chest.

18. Speaking of the chin and neck, this blogger has done several postings on the peculiar and distinctive transverse and twin-track crease  that one sees at the junction of chin and neck, and concluded that it's a 'baked-in- crease'.  Link to a recent posting. While those words were chosen to support the view that the TS image was produced by imprinting from a heated template, sufficientlly hot to produce thermal imprint, i.e. scorch, that conclusion would likewise support a sweat imprint hypothesis too, if one supposed that a heat scorch was used to simulate a sweat imprint.

19. Many have  commented on the unnaturally-long fingers on the TS man and their 'boniness', with some even going so far as to posit some kind of X-ray emanations with radiographic imaging. (Yes, seriously!) While I cannot account for the length, simple modelling with hand imprinting, using a sticky spread, shows how fingers that are held together imprint as if separate, due to preferential imprinting of skin directly over bone. Any direct visual evidence such as this for contact imprinting can be legitimately brought forward as evidence for simulated 'sweat imprinting'.

Stopped at 22:40.  Still more to come (tomorrow).

Wed 12 November.

 Here's one more to make a nice round 20 points, each and all of which in aggregate might be said to support that idea of the TS representing a 'sweat imprint' .

20. Something that is difficult to explain without recourse to some kind of pressure-imprinting, aka impaction scenario is the interesting difference in image intensity of the frontal dorsal surfaces. That was not my observation but none other than John P.Jackson's. Moreover, despite the latter's embrace of radiation as the basis for the imaging mechanism, allowing for imprinting  across air gaps (an idea this blogger refuses to accept - no physical atom-to-atom contact, no image) Jackson himself said the dorsal image had more 'direct contact' character. My own explanation was for different geometries  deployed by medieval artisans for imprinting the two surfaces, described as LUWU (Linen Underneath With Underlay) and LOTTO (Linen On Top With Overlay). See this posting for a flavour of these ideas. Note that this addition to the list addresses the alternative mechanism of imprinting,  with more or less impact pressure, assuming that the image is an imprint, but not necessarily intended as a sweat imprint, so is more by way of indirect, rather than direct evidence for imprinting as simulated sweat.

I rest my case (while still looking for more 'smoking guns').


References etc

(1) Annecy, 4 May 1614
Whilst waiting to see you, my very dear Mother, my soul greets yours with a thousand greetings. May God fill your whole soul with the life and death of His Son Our Lord! At about this time, a year ago, I was in Turin, and, while pointing out the Holy Shroud among such a great crowd of people, a few drops of sweat fell from my face on to this Holy Shroud itself. Whereupon, our heart made this wish: May it please You, Saviour of my life, to mingle my unworthy sweat with Yours, and let my blood, my life, my affections merge with the merits of Your sacred sweat! My very dear Mother, the Prince Cardinal was somewhat annoyed that my sweat dripped onto the Holy Shroud of my Saviour; but it came to my heart to tell him that Our Lord was not so delicate, and that He only shed His sweat and His blood for them to be mingled with ours, in order to give us the price of eternal life. And so, may our sighs be joined with His, so that they may ascend in an odour of sweetness before the Eternal Father.

But what am I going to recall? I saw that when my brothers were ill in their childhood, my mother would make them sleep in a shirt of my father’s, saying that the sweat of fathers was salutary for children. Oh, may our heart sleep, on this holy day, in the Shroud of our divine Father, wrapped in His sweat and in His blood; and there may it be, as if at the very death of this divine Saviour, buried in the sepulchre, with a constant resolution to remain always dead to itself until it rises again to eternal glory. We are buried, says the Apostle, with Jesus Christ in death here below, so that we may no more live according to the old life, but according to the new. Amen.

Francis, Bishop of Geneva
The 4th of May 1614

Postscript. Elsewhere I've just spotted a comment that says "historians are trying to kill scientists", as "Church leaders" did in the past.

I thought of posting the following, but decided against it (and not just because my wife said it's too long).

"Killing" is maybe a bit strong. But there's long been an insidious process at work in the UK that has been described as the 'ghettoization' of science. It was addressed some decades ago in a manner of speaking in C.P.Snow's "The Two Cultures". However that title was somewhat misleading, inasmuch as one of those cultures consistently refuses to view the other as a culture, more as a set of  preordained and rigid operating instructions (which is actually partly true, thus a contributory source of confusion).

Having done a spell of teaching science in English secondary schools according to the prescribed National Curriculum, I think I can see why the problem of cultural supremacy on the part of the liberal arts establishment in politics, the media, finance etc etc continues year after year, decade after decade to maintain its grip.  Too much of our National Curriculum is a box-ticking exercise to get across the so-called principles of the basic sciences, i.e. what has already been discovered, but with scarcely any attention as to HOW it was discovered. The excitement and dare one say intellectual challenge is rarely got across, the opportunities for doing so being curtailed by time constraints. To make matters worse, Government spokespeople and media persistently refer to science and technology as if they were one and the same thing, with scarcely any recognition of the fact that science is rooted firmly in the world of ideas, not facts or things as commonly supposed. The facts,  if the truth be told, are as often as not mere reference points, and often only provisional as new facts emerge. It's the ideas that are important, being needed to make sense of the facts regarding the way things behave - initially under laboratory conditions and then the real world.

What's hugely overlooked and/or downplayed is the creative element of science. Scientists are sadly often their own worst enemies, cultivating the myth that they are concerned purely with the search for verifiable facts, and indeed being dismissive of unorthodox lines of investigation deemed to be "blue sky thinking" (used generally as a pejorative term needless to say).

Never could the clash of the Two Cultures be more excruciatingly apparent than right now, Compare this blogger's approach (scorched linen model) with that of  historian Charles Freeman's writing off of STURP science (and my own modest contributions).

Solution? Who knows? Maybe win the lottery and set up one's own back yard research facility operating in the manner of 18th/19th century 'amateur' scientists. Recreate  curiosity-driven science as a genuine culture that is perceived as such, instead of being written off and indeed 'ghettoized' as if a closed community in which its bespectacled white-coated practitioners peer intently into glassware, communicating among themselves in a strange and  incomprehensible language.